This portal was curated by:
KHEIRON (Chiron) was eldest and wisest of the Kentauroi (Centaurs), a Thessalian tribe of half-horse men. Unlike his brethren Kheiron was an immortal son of the Titan Kronos (Cronus) and a half-brother of Zeus. When Kronos' tryst with the nymphe Philyra was interrupted by Rhea, he transformed himself into a horse to escape notice and the result was this two-formed son.
The rest of the Kentauroi (Centaurs) were spawned by the cloud Nephele on the slopes of Mount Pelion in Magnesia where they were nursed by the daughters of Kheiron.
Kheiron was a renowned teacher who mentored many of the greatest heroes of myth including the Argonauts Jason and Peleus, the physician Asklepios (Asclepius), the demi-god Aristaios (Aristaeus) and Akhilleus (Achilles) of Troy.
The old Kentauros was accidentally wounded by Herakles when the hero was battling other members of the tribe. The wound, poisoned with Hydra-venom, was incurable, and suffering unbearable pain Kheiron voluntarily relinquished his immortality. Zeus then placed him amongst the stars as the constellation Sagittarius or Centaurus.
In ancient Greek vase painting Kheiron was often depicted with a form quite distinct from that of the other Kentauroi--he had the full body of a man, from head to foot, with a partial horse-body attached to his rump, and was clothed in a full-length chiton and boots. This unusual form might simply reflect his appearance in Greek drama where costume-limitations required a simplication of the centaurine-form. The other Kentauroi, who do not appear in Athenian drama, were depicted unclothed and with fully equine forms below the waist.
Kheiron's name was derived from the Greek word for hand (kheir) and meant something like "skilled with the hands." In myth it was also closely associated with the word kheirourgos "surgeon."
Visit our special guest curator